WHATSAPP users are a popular target for scammers, who use increasingly devious tactics to get their hands on people’s hard-earned money.
Some methods are more popular than others – these are the most important fake messages you should be aware of.
Thieves posing as loved ones
Parents are being warned about a spike in a sneaky WhatsApp scam involving anguished “hi mom” text messages asking for cash.
Britons are believed to have been swindled out of nearly £50,000 by scams in which scammers pose as their sons and daughters.
It’s called the “friend in need” scam, according to Action Fraud, UK fraud fighters.
But it often starts with “Hello mom/dad it’s me”.
The plan is to trick parents into thinking they are talking to their children.
They will often pretend they are texting from a friend’s phone or from a new number.
But your own child’s WhatsApp may even have been compromised to carry out the scam.
Most Read in Phones & Gadgets
The scammer will request a large sum of money to pay some kind of urgent bill.
Parents transfer cash online mindlessly, sometimes sending thousands before realizing they’ve been duped.
Police have said this type of scam is particularly common, describing it as “pretty simple.”
Scammers target their victims, find information about them on social media, and then use emojis to establish a relationship.
If your “son” sends you a message asking for money, be sure to verify the request through another method, such as a phone call or in person.
If you are concerned that you have fallen for a financial scam, the first thing you should do is contact your bank.
You must then report it to ActionFraud. Your website is actionfraud.police.ukand his phone number is 0300 123 2040.
Verification code scam
Users should also beware of a dangerous scam text that hacks you in seconds.
One of the smartest methods to gain access to someone’s WhatsApp account is through a verification code scam.
Usually what happens is that you will receive a text message from WhatsApp with a login code.
This is a two-factor authentication code that allows you to log into your account, because it proves that you are in possession of the phone number.
You will then receive a WhatsApp message from a friend or family member.
This will say something like, “Hey! I accidentally sent you my WhatsApp login code. Could you give it back to me please?”
Never reply to this message.
It might also be worth pointing out to the friend who has been hacked that they have been compromised, using an app other than WhatsApp.
Once you’re compromised, make sure you immediately try to log in and kick the other person out.
If you can remove the hacker, you’ll need a new code to get back in.
One of the most common forms of WhatsApp scam is a phishing attack.
Fraudulent messages are so-called phishing attacks that lure victims to a website that appears to be operated by a trusted entity, such as a bank, social media platform, or other service.
However, the website is fake with bogus content designed to persuade the victim to enter sensitive information such as a password or email address.
Alternatively, unwitting visitors may be asked to enter their credit card details or online banking credentials.
Over the phone, phishing attackers will pose as a staff member of a trusted entity and try to convince you to give them your details.
Whether it’s through fake calls or websites, scammers often try to mimic messages from a trusted entity to make them appear authentic.
This is because victims are more likely to transfer money to an institution they recognize and trust.
Common institutions that are imitated include banks, HMRC, postal companies, Facebook, Amazon and more.
To protect yourself, be sure to only click on links or attachments sent from trusted sources.
If you’re not sure if a link is safe, it’s best to leave it and report the message as spam within the WhatsApp app.
In the UK, you can report a suspected scam email or message to the National Cyber Security Center here.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online’s science and technology team? Email us at [email protected]